8 Best Dog Walks in East Lothian

There’s plenty of variety for dog walkers in East Lothian

Yellowcraig Beach is a popular spot with East Lothian dog walkers (Shutterstock)
Yellowcraig Beach is a popular spot with East Lothian dog walkers (Shutterstock)

Pet owners looking for dog walks in East Lothian are spoiled for choice.

Whether your four legged friend’s preferred terrain is a sandy beach, a steep hill climb, or a muddy forest East Lothian has it all.

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Ideally for dog owners, these routes are often accompanied with pleasant scenery and even signs of the region’s historical past.

Here are best dog walk in East Lothian:

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1. Gosford Estate

2. Yellowcraig Beach

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3. Longniddry Railway Walk

4. Tantallon Castle and Seacliff

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5. Traprain Law

6. Berwick Law

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7. Pressmennan Wood

8. Gullane Beach

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Note: Scotland currently remains in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, and therefore this list should merely serve as inspiration for future trips.

1. Gosford Estate

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This gorgeous assortment of follies, forest and lakes is welcome to dogs, so long as they are kept on a leash.

Built in the late 18th century by the 7th Earl of Wemyss, the grounds were once pleasure gardens accessible to the estate’s residents and their guests; today pets and young children are welcome to explore the fantastical landscape.

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Access to grounds is by entering by the Gosford Farm Shop, which incidentally is a great place to enjoy a bowl of soup and a sandwich once your dog is suitably worn out.

Walkers can simply circulate the grounds at their own pace.

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Expertise: Easy Length: 20-40 minutes Distance: 1km to 3km

2. Yellowcraig Beach

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East Lothian’s coast is home to some of the country’s most inviting beaches, but Yellowcraig is possibly the best spot for dog walkers.

A stroll to the beach begins with a walk through dense forest, followed by a labyrinth of dune grasslands and finally the wide and elongated beach itself.

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The walk can be extended with a stroll up and down the beach’s length.

Well-behaved dogs can be let off their lead

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Expertise: Medium Length: 30-90 minutes Distance: 2km to 4km

3. Longniddry Railway Walk

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So long as there are no Edinburgh Waverley-bound trains whizzing by, this charming pathway is a peaceful option for dog walkers.

Less frequented than the county’s beaches, the path offers a simple there-and-back-again route for dog walkers with local wildlife, such as deer, potentially visible throughout.

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Start the walk from the Longniddry train station car park and make your way northeast; simply turn back at a suitable halfway point for you and your dog’s fitness levels.

Expertise: Easy to Medium Length: 30-90 minutes Distance: 2.5km to 5km

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4. North Berwick to Tantallon Castle

This walk offers a delightful blend of history and scenery, taking in the sites of North Berwick, Bass Rock and Tantallon Castle.

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Start in charming North Berwick and follow the coast for roughly 5km to Tantallon Castle before returning to your start point. Do this walk at low tide to ensure you have ample time on the beach.

If you fancy a halfway break, nip to Drift Cafe, a shipping container transformed into a cosy cafe, which offers unrivalled views of Bass Rock. Dogs can be tied on a leash outside, with plenty of outdoor seating available.

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Expertise: Hard Length: 90 minutes to 2 hours Distance: 10km

5. Traprain Law

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This beacon of a hill is a familiar site to a large proportion of East Lothian residents.

The dome is a pleasant and peaceful spot to take restless dogs, who can spend any pent-up energy on the slopes of the Law.

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Start by parking your car on the road that links Traprain and Haddington. Take extra care when crossing the road, and then follow a rough path to the hill’s apex.

Expertise: Medium (steep in places) Length: 30 to 50 minutes Distance: 2km

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6. Berwick Law

Perched over North Berwick, this prominent and pinched peak might intimidate those used to a flat beach, but in truth it’s a relatively easy climb, so long as you take your time.

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Once a suitable distance from the Law’s car park (located a short distance off the B1347) let your dog off the lead, though do be wary of the Exmoor Ponies which call the hill home.

At the peak enjoy the views of the Firth of Forth as well as the whale jawbone replica at it’s top.

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Expertise: Medium (steep in places) Length: 20 to 40 minutes Distance: 2km

7. Pressmennan Wood

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Situated on the outskirts of East Lothian’s Dunbar, the fantastical wood carvings that line the paths in Pressmennan Wood make this walk ideal for dog owners with younger children as well as pooches.

Minuscule doors carved into the side of trees are said to be inhabited by creatures known as ‘Glingbobs’ and ‘Tooflits’.

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Drive along Stenton Loan to find the Woods car park, before hiking along the length and breadth of Pressmennan Lake.

Expertise: Easy Length: 25 to 50 minutes Distance: 4km

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8. Gullane Beach

Another of the county’s fine beaches, Gullane is an award-winning beach, hemmed in by dunes and buckthorn bushes.

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Dogs, if they’re brave enough, can enjoy a swim in the baltic Firth of Forth, while owners can enjoy a stride up and down the length of the beach.

The Gullane Bents car park is located just off Marine Terrace on the village’s north side.

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Expertise: Easy Length: 20 to 40 minutes Distance: 2km to 4km